The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to contact with pet hedgehogs.
Eleven people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from eight states: Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming.
One person has been hospitalized, according to the CDC. No deaths have been reported.
Fifty-five percent of the ill people are children under 12. Ten of the 11 ill people reported contact with a pet hedgehog.
The outbreak strain making people sick was found in samples collected from three hedgehogs in two ill patients’ homes.
A common supplier of hedgehogs in this outbreak has not been identified, the CDC stated. Ill people reported buying hedgehogs from various sources, including pet stores, breeders, or online.
Illnesses started from October 22, 2018 to December 25, 2018.
The CDC explains that hedgehogs can carry Salmonella germs in their droppings while appearing healthy and clean. Germs can easily spread to their bodies and anything in the area where they live.
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12-72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria, according to the CDC. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.
General advice on pet hedgehogs from the CDC:
General advice on pet hedgehogs:
- Pick the right pet for your family. Children under 5 years old, adults over 65, or people with weakened immune systems are at a greater risk for serious illness. Households with these individuals might consider a different pet.
- Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching, feeding, or caring for a hedgehog or cleaning its habitat. Adults should supervise handwashing for young children.
- Don’t kiss or snuggle hedgehogs, because this can spread Salmonella germs to your face and mouth and make you sick.
- Don’t let hedgehogs roam freely in areas where food is prepared or stored, such as kitchens.
- Clean hedgehog habitats, toys, and supplies outside the house when possible.
Bigger dogs, with larger brains, perform better on certain measures of intelligence than their smaller canine counterparts, according to a new study led by the University of Arizona. In particular, bigger dogs have better short-term memory and self-control than more petite pups, according to the study published in the journal Animal Cognition.
"The jury is out on why, necessarily, brain size might relate to cognition," said lead study author Daniel Horschler, a UA anthropology doctoral student and member of the UA's Arizona Canine Cognition Center. "We think of it as probably a proxy for something else going on, whether it's the number of neurons that matters or differences in connectivity between neurons. "
Horschler found that brain size didn't predict a dog's performance on tests of social intelligence, which was measured by testing each dog's ability to follow human pointing gestures. It also wasn't associated with a dog's inferential and physical reasoning ability. The study's findings mirror what scientists have previously found to be true in primates – that brain size is associated with executive functioning, but not other types of intelligence.
"Previous studies have been composed mostly or entirely of primates, so we weren't sure whether the result was an artifact of unique aspects of primate brain evolution," Horschler said. "We think dogs are a really great test case for this because there's huge variation in brain size, to a degree you don't see in pretty much any other terrestrial mammals."
Horschler's study is based on data from more than 7,000 purebred domestic dogs from 74 different breeds. Brain size was estimated based on breed standards. The data came from the citizen science website Dognition.com, which offers instructions for dog owners to test their canines' cognitive abilities through a variety of game-based activities.
Short-term memory was tested by dog owners hiding a treat, in view of their dog, under one of two overturned plastic cups. Owners then waited 60, 90, 120 or 150 seconds before releasing their dog to get the treat. Smaller dogs had more difficulty remembering where the treat was hidden. To test self-control, owners placed a treat in front of their seated dog and then forbade the dog from taking it. Owners then either watched the dog, covered their own eyes or turned away from the dog. Larger-breed dogs typically waited longer to snag the forbidden treat.
Horschler and his colleagues controlled for whether or not the dogs had been trained. They found that larger-brained breeds had better short-term memory and self-control than smaller dogs, regardless of the extent of training the dogs had received. In the future, Horschler said he'd like to do comparative studies of cognitive abilities in different breed varieties, such as the miniature poodle and much larger standard poodle, which are essentially the same except for their size. Horschler said, "We're coming to understand that brain size is in some way related to cognition, whether it's because of brain size specifically or whether it's a proxy for something else." -------------
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered state officials to develop regulations to reduce methane emissions from its oil and gas industry and separately rollback statewide greenhouse gas output over the next decade.
The New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and Environment Department were directed to enact methane emission reduction "rules as soon as practicable," the executive order said.
Lujan Grisham, a recently-elected Democrat, campaigned on the promise of tightening environmental guidelines for the southwestern state's fossil fuels sector.
As home to part of the booming Permian Basin oil hub, New Mexico has doubled its oil output in recent years to become one of the top crude-producing states.
In her executive order, the governor also formed a task force to develop a plan to curb the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030. The group is set to release its initial recommendations by Sept. 15.
Additionally, Lujan Grisham announced New Mexico has joined a group of governors, known as the U.S. Climate Alliance, electing to uphold the Paris climate agreement despite President Donald Trump's decision to remove the United States from the pact.
Also, a New Mexico lawmaker filed legislation, backed by Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, to increase the royalty rate on 9 million acres of state land.
The bill would increase the state's typical 12.5 to 20 percent royalty to match Texas' 25 percent royalty, though it would target only the top performing wells. The higher royalty rate would kick in for oil wells when production reaches 20,000 barrels per month.
The bill would also require companies to pay royalties when natural gas is flared or vented - something that is common when new oil wells come online but gas pipelines are not in place.
Garcia Richard’s office noted in a news release that the state loses around $1 million per month on unpaid royalties due to venting and flaring.
The bill would only impact new oil and gas leases that the state negotiates.
Does your sweet pet have sour breath? A bad odor coming from the mouths of your pets could be more than a nuisance; it could signify a serious health risk with the potential to damage not only your pets’ teeth and gums but their internal organs as well.
To address the importance of oral health care for pets, the AVMA is sponsoring National Pet Dental Health Month in February. AVMA President Dr. John de Jong says regular dental exams are an integral and primary component of a pet’s overall health care, and can help prevent more serious health problems.
“Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for our pets,” said Dr. de Jong. “In addition to causing receding gums, tooth loss and significant pain, bacteria in the mouth enters the bloodstream, potentially affecting the heart, liver and kidneys, which can be life threatening.”
According to the American Veterinary Dental College, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease by the age of three, often indicated by bad breath, a change in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and mouth, and depression.
In addition to professional dental care, Dr. de Jong advises pet owners to make oral home care part of their pet’s routine as a way to prevent tooth decay.
Although daily tooth brushing is advised for dogs and cats, a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry showed that only 2 percent of dog owners follow through with this practice. In addition, a survey of pet owners showed that only 14 percent of dogs and 9 percent of cats receive dental care at the veterinarian’s office. Pet owners can work with their veterinarians to begin a pet dental care routine at home in addition to regular dental exams and professional dental cleanings.
To learn more about dental care for pets, including causes and signs of oral health problems in pets and an instructional video on brushing pets’ teeth, visit avma.org/PetDental.
Winn Feline Foundation (Winn) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) are pleased to announce two scholarships for third- or fourth-year veterinary students enrolled in accredited veterinary colleges or schools in the United States or Canada. The $2,500 awards are based upon academic achievement, financial need, leadership, and dedication to and excellence in the study of feline medicine, health, and welfare.
The Boards of Directors of both the AAFP and Winn are thrilled to offer these scholarships to support future veterinarians and continue to advance feline medicine. These two leading feline-dedicated organizations are offering one $2,500 scholarship for a veterinary student with an interest in feline practice and the second $2,500 scholarship for a veterinary student with an interest in clinical scientific research.
All applications will be reviewed, selected, and approved by the AAFP and Winn. In addition to a short application form, interested students will also be required to answer two essay questions asking for the applicant to explain his/her specific interest and background in feline health and welfare, and to describe plans for future participation in feline medicine.
All completed applications with accompanying supplementary documents must be received no later than March 22, 2019. The winning recipient will be notified of their award on or before April 15, 2019.
Applications and instructions are available shortly on each organization’s websites:
The AAFP has additional resources housed in the Student Center on their website, including their Toolkit for Veterinary Students (http://bit.ly/aafpstudenttoolkit). The toolkit contains materials for veterinary students to embrace a feline perspective and obtain further knowledge about the standards needed to elevate care for cats. Winn also has a number of various educational resources on their website and information regarding research grant awards.
As parts of Virginia prepare for extreme cold in the coming days, Attorney General Mark R. Herring and his Animal Law Unit are reminding Virginia pet owners and law enforcement that leaving animals out in the cold can bring “serious legal consequences.”
That can include charges of animal cruelty, Herring said in a press release.
“The law requires owners to protect their pets from the elements and gives law enforcement tools to ensure the safety and health of an animal, including the ability in certain circumstances to seize an animal to ensure its safety,” Herring said. “As we prepare for this cold snap, I’d encourage all Virginians to check on and take care of yourself, your friends, neighborhoods, and family members, and don’t forget about your animals.”
Leaving an animal exposed to the cold with no shelter or inadequate shelter can be considered animal cruelty, a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, according to the release.
Herring and the Animal Law Unit advise animal control officers to ask owners to bring the dogs inside or into adequate shelter, ask owners to surrender the animal if they are unable to provide adequate shelter, or in certain circumstances take temporary custody of the animal to ensure its safety.
In 2015, Herring created the nation’s first OAG Animal Law Unit to serve as a training and prosecution resource for state agencies, investigators and Commonwealth’s Attorneys around the state dealing with matters involving animal fighting, cruelty and welfare, according to the release.
The headline in The Sun Sentinel reads, “Listeners outraged after Paul Castronovo radio show tweets photo of crucified iguana.” It’s obviously hard to know exactly how many listeners were outraged but one thing you should know is that Castronovo did not crucify an iguana. His show posted a picture from a listener that did. Here are the details.
Keep in mind that in Florida iguana’s are an invasive species and according to Florida law it’s legal to shoot iguanas in the head with a pellet gun, stab them in the brain and even decapitate them as long as they don’t suffer.
Here’s the tweet that started the listener feedback. It was accompanied by the picture of a skinned iguana on a piece of wood.
“Shoutout to our listener Brandon who made good on his word to share his crucified iguana photo with us!
Some on social media said what took place was animal cruelty and took their anger out on Castronovo.
From The Sun Sentinel: Someone Tweeted
“This looks like animal cruelty to me. I know they don’t belong here but nothing deserves to die like this. I am so sad by this,”.
“Please tell me this isn’t real. I’d hate to have to stop being a longtime faithful fan said one fan and another said “Man can you guys stop with the animal cruelty for one second.”
Castronovo told the paper, “Yes, there was mixed reaction out there. But we certainly aren’t responsible for what a listener sends us. We weren’t saying ‘Hey, let’s go out there and torture iguanas.’ That certainly wasn’t out intention. We are just doing a comedy show. We’ve moved on.”
The Paul Castronovo Morning Show airs on iHeart’s classic rock station FM-105.9 in South Florida.
FYI - (Scappoose: pronounced Scah - poose)
A Scappoose-based dog rescue organization is under fire from the Oregon Department of Justice for running a "sham" for-profit business while receiving tax-exempt status from the state.
Samantha Miller and her mother, Jeri Miller, who ran All Terrier Rescue Hunters Crossing for nearly two decades in the Chapman area off of Scappoose-Vernonia Highway, are named as defendants in a complaint filed by the state in Marion County Circuit Court in October.
State investigators say through two different dog rescue organizations All Terrier Rescue, and Rescue Strong Oregon the Millers used adoption fees for personal use, provided false information on state records, and failed to report millions in revenue to the IRS, while misleading adopters.
The Millers started ATR in 1999, according to the complaint then received tax-exempt nonprofit status from the IRS in 2001. Despite holding regular adoption events outside Columbia County and charging adoption fees, the operation never had a kennel license in Columbia County and rarely complied with record keeping or regulatory requirements, the state says. The Millers are likely now running a similar organization called Rescue Strong Oregon. The state is seeking dissolution of both organizations for breach of fiduciary duties and unjust enrichment.
"As of January 2018, ATR reported that it had adopted out 38,015 dogs," the legal filing indicates. "Based on its published reports of its activities, ATR has generated over $7 million in revenue since 1999, but has reported a little over $1 million in revenue in its annual financial reports to the DOJ."
Records show ATR and Rescue Strong agents misrepresent themselves as licensed animal behavior experts or veterinarians and misstate the condition and medical history of the dogs they adopt out.
Click here to read the rest of the story in the Columbia County Spotlight.